Heated debate erupted on the floor in the Senate on Thursday after some Senators strongly opposed a provision in the election reform law that requires political parties to ensure thirty percent gender equality during candidates' registration.
Some of the Senators, who opposed with the thirty percent gender equality provision, said the committee on the election reform law should not legalize what is not part of the Constitution of Liberia.
Grand Gedeh County Senior Senator Isaac Nyenabo, who strongly opposes the thirty percent gender equality provision, said the Senate has power to discuss all other issues within the election reform law, except the thirty percent gender equality, which is not constitutional. Nyenabo said a referendum would have to be conducted to legalize the thirty percent gender equality provision.
He said it should be clear to the people of Liberia, including members of the Senate that the form government here is not the same as parliamentary, stressing that Articles 11 and 18 of the Constitution clear all the debate.
However, Montserrado County senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff said it was time the Senate sees reasons to promote gender equality.
"If I sit and done talk on this issue, it will be a setback to my political career; I believe the Constitution of 1847 still represents minority view; if you look at the history of Liberia, it was women, who won and brought men onboard," Senator Doe-Sheriff recalled.
She emphasized that women in Liberia should be given a chance to participant in all elections conducted in the country to promote gender equality.
At the same time, the Chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on the electoral reform law, Senator Federick D. Cherue of River Gee County, said it is not against any constitution for political parties to promote gender equality. The debate was however postponed following a motion for the next working day.